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County launches revitalization project for downtowns

Tom Coke, Downtown Revitalization Co-ordinator, speaks with a guest at the open house.

Tom Coke, Downtown Revitalization Co-ordinator, speaks with a guest at the open house.

The County officially launched its project to revitalize downtown cores in Prince Edward County at an open house held in the Baxter Centre in Bloomfield.

The Downtown Revitalization Project is led by five downtowns through a volunteer based steering committee, and coordinated by Tom Coke.

The two-year partnership between the County, Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), is to result in the development of five Strategic Downtown Revitalization Plans – one for each of the communities of Picton, Bloomfield, Wellington, Consecon and Rossmore. In addition, the project will result in an overarching County-wide downtown revitalization strategy.

Community consultation will be taking place over the summer. Project representatives will be conducting surveys to identify challenges and opportunities from the perspectives of business owners, customers, and residents of each community.

“There is no clear definition on what a downtown is,” said Coke, the revitalization co-ordinator. “Downtown means something different to everybody. It’s a great opportunity to ask what are the attractions that draw people in – whether it’s business, commercial properties, residential, physical space, parks… There is no right or wrong interpretation.”

He noted surveys will be offered to business owners to help determine their current and future business needs, marketing and sales trends and existing perceptions of their downtown. Customers of each downtown area will also be surveyed to identify shopping patterns and perceived gaps in the retail and service industries.

The project will also identify physical design priorities, future infrastructure needs, and areas of improvement required in each downtown area.

The project is part of a province-wide OMAFRA program announced last year. The County is to receive 50 per cent of the $205,000 study cost.

Karen Fischer addresses the open house guests

Karen Fischer addresses the open house guests

Karen Fischer, Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Advisor out of Brighton’s regional centre, said the project is a four-stage process.

“It’s not just about physical improvement. We also focus on economic development in each community, on physical and social well-being of communities, on activities and events and on management and leadership.

“The end result is going to be an over-arching plan for development across the County… while still respecting each community’s individuality.”

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  1. Maggi says:

    The old trees on King street are on their last legs. Probably on other streets, Benson park {also old trees?}.
    King Street is a speedway, especially at night and nothing is done about it. People { don’t blame the tourists} go through the cross walks.

    No flowers on Main street.

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